How a 400m vessel generates 30km of land transport vehicles per call

Container ships of more than 20,000 TEU are operational on the Europe-Far East trade. The chart shows the implication of a visit of such a mega vessel in Antwerp or Rotterdam, two of the largest container ports in Europe.

A call of a 20,000 TEU vessel typically results in an average call size 8,000 TEU. Some 70% of that volume is gateway cargo, the remaining 30% involves transhipment cargo. The port authorities of both Antwerp and Rotterdam have expressed their intention to evolve to a inland modal split in container transport of 40/40/20: maximum 40% by truck, minimum 40% by barge and minimum 20% by rail. Under such a scenario, the graph shows 1120 incoming and outgoing trucks, 14 averaged-sized container shuttle trains and 12 averaged-sized barges are needed to guarantee the inward and outward distribution of the containers. Lining up all these transport vehicles would create an interrupted queue of 30km. As ship sizes increase, scale increases in land transportation are needed by deploying more and bigger barges and longer trains between seaports and inland distribution platforms.